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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: writer wednesday, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 115
1. Writer Wednesday: Into the Fire Street Team Revealed!



Applications have been carefully reviewed and the official Into the Fire street team has been selected. Before I share the list of people who made the team, let me just say that this experience was very surreal for me. I was amazed at how many people submitted applications and how excited people were at the prospect of being selected. I want to thank everyone who applied, and know that even if you weren't selected (because we committed to only taking 20 people to keep the group small—and I still took one extra because narrowing down this list was SO hard!), you made my day and have my gratitude for wanting to help me promote this series.

Okay, without further ado, here is the official Into the Fire street team!

Keren Hughes ~ Gothic Angel Book Reviews
Jennifer Helms ~ @JenBibiHelms 
Shieka Doctor ~ Doctor's Notes
Stephanie Belden ~ @smbmar 
Veray Carter ~ @pinkladyroses 
Michelle Willms ~ Michelle Willm's Blog
Janera Holt ~ Booknut101: Once Upon a Time
FSMeurinne ~ Book Enticer
Rachel Andrews ~ Rachel's Book Reviews
Elizabeth Thiele ~ Crazii Bitches Blog
Maghon Thomas ~ Happy Tails and Tales
Jessica Porter ~ Crossroad Reviews
Denise Cayetano ~ I Am Shelfless
Beth Consugar ~ @eaconsugar
Stephanie Faris ~ Stephanie Faris
Kat Romeo ~ Living in a Fictional Reality
G. Donald Cribbs ~ G. Donald Cribbs Books
Kristen Chandler ~ Shelf_Life
Rachel Gunter ~ Bookish Wonderland
Ashley Kemp ~ Mama Reads
Brie Chelton ~ @Chapter_Break

Some of these amazing people have supported my other books and some are completely new to me, but they are all equally incredible for wanting to be part of this series. I thank them all immensely.

First up for promo of Into the Fire is the cover reveal happening this Saturday through Monday. And guys, it's so GORGEOUS!!!!! I can't wait for you to see it. So, that means my usual Friday Feature post will actually be on Saturday so I can share the cover. Be sure to stop back on Saturday. :)

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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2. Writer Wednesday: Handling Conflicting Feedback

Today's Writer Wednesday topic comes from Mirka Breen. She wants to know how you approach contradictory feedback on your WIP.

If you're getting feedback on your work, you're doing the right thing as far as taking measures to improve your manuscript. But that doesn't mean it will be easy. Getting contradictory feedback from beta readers, agents, or even editors can throw you for a loop. If this happens, there are two things you should do.

First, remember that reading is subjective. If the feedback is about something that could be personal preference, then there is likely no need to fix it. If one reader doesn't like a character quirk or the way a character handled a situation, then that's reader preference, not necessarily something you did wrong as the author. Similarly, if a reader hates that you ended with a cliffhanger, that's personal preference again. I happen to love cliffhangers. ;) So basically this kind of feedback is preparing you for future reviews and how different readers will have different reactions to your book. There's nothing wrong with that.

The second thing you should do is look at the feedback and decide if you agree or not. It's YOUR book. Let me repeat that. It's YOUR book. You know the world and the characters best. If you feel you did what is best for your book and only one person questioned it, you're fine. Now, if you reflect on that feedback and think there's a possibility that reader is right, then you should try making adjustments and seeing if those adjustments improve the story. They just might.

So really, you have to decide what feedback you listen to and what feedback you chalk up to personal opinion.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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3. Writer Wednesday: Don't Rush Your Editor

I've been editing a lot this past year and I'm booked for the next three months, so 2016 doesn't seem like it will be any different. Because I'm editing so much, I wanted to share what I believe is the biggest mistake you can make with your editor.

DON'T RUSH YOUR EDITOR. I want to repeat that. Don't rush your editor. I see this all the time. I have some clients who are very successful with self publishing. That's fantastic. It really is. But here's what you need to understand. If you give yourself a deadline, whether it be because you put your fabulous new book up for pre-order or you're entering a contest with an agent or publisher, then PLEASE make sure you can keep to your own deadlines. I get clients who email me to say they won't be able to submit their book to me on time because they got caught up with life. I get it. Life happens. But here's the problem. I schedule editing clients months in advance. If you are late, you obliterate my editing schedule, which affects not just me but my other editing clients. Worse, you're now asking me to RUSH your edit to keep the deadline you yourself missed. :( 

This is why I hate this. If I have to rush, I can't do my best when it comes to your edit. I'm looking very closely for errors so readers don't slam you and your book for them. If you rush me, I'm going to miss things. I go through every book I edit multiple times to avoid errors slipping through. I need time to do that and to do it well. Given the option between moving your release date or putting out a book that was edited in a rush, I'd choose moving your release date every time. This is your baby. You spent countless hours writing it, so why rush the editing?

So that's my plea. Please don't rush your editor. He or she is working just as hard on your book as you are, so give him/her the time needed to edit your work properly.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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4. Writer Wednesday: 2016 Goals and an Announcement

I've been thinking about my writing goals for a while now, and to be honest it wasn't easy to come up with them this year. The reason is because my editing took off last year, and that's impacted my writing. While I want to write a set number of books, it's just not possible to predict how many I'll be able to write.

At the moment, I'm booked through April with client edits. That doesn't even factor in my edits for Leap Books. What that means is I will have very little time to write during those months. :( I'm a fast drafter, so give me about eight days free of edits and I'll draft an entire book. I'll have to start scheduling writing time into my edits after April, though, and block out those days from potential clients.

So my goals for 2016 are going to be very general:
  • Write as much as I can.
  • Read for enjoyment as much as I can.
  • Try not to let my editing schedule consume me by scheduling breaks.
  • Release my entire Into the Fire Trilogy.
  • Release my entire Curse of the Granville Fortune Trilogy.
  • Remember I'm only human.
That's it. I'm not going crazy this year. I won't put huge expectations on my shoulders. I will remember I'm only one person and I'll do what is realistically doable.


Now, on to my announcement. Well, actually it's an announcement of a future announcement. Next week I'll be announcing a new opportunity for my readers. As always, my street team, Kelly's Coven and my newsletter subscribers will hear about it first, which means those individuals will have first dibs at this opportunity. I'll post the news here a few days later. Want to be one of those lucky people to get first dibs? Sign up for my street team and/or my newsletter. If you'd like to join Kelly's Coven you can do so here. Or you can subscribe to my newsletter here.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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5. Writer Wednesday: A BIG Announcement!


Have you heard the big news? I’m announcing a brand new street team! This street team is NOT a Kelly Hashway or an Ashelyn Drake street team, but rather a street team for the Into The Fire trilogy! The first book, Into The Fire, has gotten a gorgeous new cover to match the second two books in the series, and it is being re-released with heavy edits. That means, it’s basically a new book!  What better time to get you guys involved than with the re-release of the first book?




Here are the details:

Only 20 members will be chosen. This means you will be part of a very elite group of bloggers/reveiwers, and readers alike.

It’s vital you understand you’re accepting the time commitment that comes with it.
While I want you to have fun, I’m choosing a very select group of people so that:
1. You’re able to form close bonds with each other
2. We’re able to get you better exclusives - in the form of ARCs, special edition swag, and being able to hang out” virtually with me.

The number one goal (and something you *must* do to be a member) is to agree to post your *honest and unbiased* review during release weeks!

There will be other tasks as well - that aren’t requirements - but that will be highly encouraged (and rewarded).

You can apply here: http://goo.gl/forms/cM0XD961ZC or below:
Loading...




*** Important *** 
The app will close on January 21st, so make sure you get your application in before that day. Once the application closes, there will be no exceptions to allow you to fill it out, as my social media manager and I need time to sort through the responses and pick the team. We hope to have a team together by January 25th, but please be patient with us as we sort through the applications.

Thank you!

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6. Writer Wednesday: Decoding the Positive Rejection

On Monday, Fi Phillips was nice enough to suggest a topic for this week's Writer Wednesday. Here's Fi's question:

If you keep getting your book back from agents saying that it's great, they enjoyed reading it, keep sending it out, but it's not for them (with the additional phrase that it's all subjective), does that mean that the book isn't good enough or simply that I haven't found the right agent yet?

The hardest thing about a rejection like this one is that it means exactly what it says. You're doing everything right, except finding the right agent. This is actually a good rejection to get, but it can break your heart too. What you should take from this is that someone (maybe more than one agent) likes your work. That's a good thing. The problem is, and I can say this from experience as an acquisitions editor, you need to find the person who loves your book as much as you do. I read a lot of good manuscripts. I'm only open to agented submissions right now, so these manuscripts got the attention of agents. That must mean they're pretty good, right? Yes, but it doesn't mean I'll love them.

Me, specifically. I read each book I work on countless times. I have to still love it after I've poured over each word and practically memorized the book. If I don't, I can't work on it. An agent is much the same. They have to love your book so much they'll cry if they don't get to work with you on it. (Okay, maybe not cry, but you know what I mean.)

So this rejection means just what it says. You're doing everything right. You wrote a great book. Now find that agent who loves it as much as you do. He or she is out there somewhere.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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7. Writer Wednesday: Goodreads

Recently, I've seen quite a few authors comment about Goodreads, and not in a positive way. So today I want to talk about Goodreads. As authors, we tend to look at review sites as places we should be, but in actuality these sites are for readers to share their opinions. You have to remember that.

Here's how I use Goodreads. I have my blog linked to Goodreads, which means I get comments on my posts there. I happily go on and respond to those comments. I also have the "Ask the Author" section activated so readers can communicate with me. I love talking to readers this way, and it's great because Goodreads emails you to let you know you have a message. These are my favorite features on Goodreads.

Now let me tell you how I DON'T use Goodreads. I don't ever comment on negative reviews or ratings. Have you ever noticed that books tend to have more reviews on Goodreads than on Amazon or any other site? Goodreads is for reviews. But those reviews aren't there for the authors. They're for other readers. We all know there are a lot of people on Goodreads who simply rate books without reviewing them or who really slam authors. Do I like this? No, of course not. But don't engage with those readers who rate your book before it's out just to give you a low star rating. Or with those readers who hate your book with a fiery passion. Don't do it.

So this is my plea to please use Goodreads in a good way. It has some great features, but it can also be a potential setting for bad blood. Don't fall victim to the latter.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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8. Writer Wednesday: Teaming Up With Other Authors

It's no secret that I'm a huge proponent of authors supporting other authors, but today I want to take that one step further and talk about authors teaming up with other authors. This is such a great way to help each other promote and to reach a new audience. This week, I'm teaming up with 11 other YA authors to bring readers a huge giveaway. It's great for the readers, and it's great for the authors too because we are reaching new potential fans and sharing our fan bases with each other. If you haven't yet teamed up with other authors like this, I'd encourage you to try it. And before you go, check out the giveaway and be sure to enter. There are so many prizes to win!


First, here are the participating authors:




Now for the prizes. There will be a winner for each prize. Yes, that means there are a ton of chances to win!


Prizes:

2 $40 gift cards
eBook of PERFECT FOR YOU by Ashelyn Drake
eBook of FINE ART OF PRETENDING by Rachel Harris
eBook of SOMETHING ABOUT LOVE by Elana Johnson
eBook of ELEVATED by Elana Johnson
eBook of PLAYING WITH FIRE by Sherry Ficklin
One of the GUARDIANS OF GALAXY books by Ednah Walters
RITE OF REJECTION by Sarah Negovetich
4 copies of THE TROUBLE WITH DESTINY by Lauren Morrill
eBook set of THE DARK BETRAYAL Trilogy by Nichole Chase

eBook of TOUCHING SMOKE by Airicka Phoenix
eBook of DAUGHTER OF CHAOS by Jen McConnel


You can enter on my Facebook page or on the Rafflecopter form below. The giveaway is international and will run from November 9th to November 15th. Good luck!






Giveaway hosted by Ashelyn Drake. 

More info about Ashelyn can be found below: 


Ashelyn is a pen name for Kelly Hashway. Kelly grew up reading R.L. Stein’s Fear Street novels and writing stories of her own, so it was no surprise to her family when she majored in English and later obtained a masters degree in English Secondary Education from East Stroudsburg University. After teaching middle school language arts for seven years, Hashway went back to school and focused specifically on writing. She is now the author of three young adult series, one middle grade series, and several picture books. She also writes contemporary romance under the pen name Ashelyn Drake. When she isn’t writing, Hashway works as a freelance editor for small presses as well as for her own list of clients. In her spare time, she enjoys running, traveling, and volunteering with the PTO. Hashway currently resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter, and two pets.


*Sign up for Ashelyn's newsletter to stay current on her new releases: http://bit.ly/1tRQqzg


Join her street team, Kelly’s Coven, for exclusive giveaways, ARCs, and to chat with her: https://www.facebook.com/groups/KellysCoven/


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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9. Writer Wednesday: NaNoWriMo Tips

Even though I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, I do love to fast draft so I figured I'd share some tips for anyone who needs a little push to get over that middle slump that sometimes creeps up when we're drafting.
  • Keep momentum  I'm going to start with this one because we all know that the excitement of NaNo drives you in the beginning, but it's tough to keep that excitement up mid-month. The key is to keep going. Don't slack on those word count goals. Keep up the pace you've been maintaining.
  • Don't be afraid to jump around  If you get stuck on a scene, skip it and go back to it later. Keep pushing ahead. Sometimes when the middle starts to get to me, I jump ahead to the climax because it's exciting and fast paced. That gets me into the groove again and keeps the words flowing.
  • Set small goals  Daily word count goals can sometimes be overwhelming. Break them up into what you want to write in a twenty-minute span. Setting short goals, means you'll feel a sense of accomplishment sooner, and that can motivate you to keep going and write more.
  • Reward yourself  You know that cookie you're dying to eat. How about after you reach 1,000 words? Give yourself a reason to want to get those words down and then reward yourself for a job well done.
  • Share your goals and progress  When I ran competitively, one of the things I did before a race was tell everyone what time I wanted to run. If they knew my target time, I'd feel accountable because I knew they'd ask me if I met it. Tell people your goals and then check in with your progress. Don't let writing be a solitary experience.
  • Feed off the energy of others and inspire others just the same  Feeling like you're in a slump? Don't post about that. Encourage others to keep going and let them do the same for you. Think positively. Cheering on others just may spark some creativity in yourself.

Good luck NaNoWriMo participants! You can do this. Keep those fingers flying across the keys.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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10. Writer Wednesday: Thanksgiving Edition

Since tomorrow is thanksgiving, I thought I'd share what I'm thankful for this year. These are in no particular order, and I'm sure I'm forgetting people so I'll apologize in advance for that.

This Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for:
  • my family who is so supportive of the crazy author/editor lifestyle I've chosen
  • my friends who accept that I ignore them when I'm in my writing or editing bubble
  • my writer friends who truly know how tough this business is and endure it alongside me
  • my amazing street team, Kelly's Coven, who shares every step of this journey and helps me make decisions about author logos, book settings, and so much more 
  • my agent who keeps me sane when I just want to scream and cry, which has been more than I'd like to admit
  • my social media manager, Amber, who always has brilliant ideas about how to spread the word about my books
  • my readers, whether they've been with me from the start or have just discovered my books
  • my newsletter subscribers for actually wanting to hear from me every month to see what I'm up to
  • the schools who have invited me to speak and share what I do for a living
  • my editing clients who allow me to make some money to pay bills and allow me to work on some really amazing books
  • bookstores who invite me to sign and who also carry my books on the shelves so I can take pictures of them out in the wild
  • my social media followers who put up with my posts about my crazy Shep-hound dog, my adorable daughter, all my books, The Walking Dead, my love of Jensen Ackles, and my Jamberry nail obsession
  • Limitless books for being so amazing to work with and for putting out Our Little Secret and the entire Into the Fire trilogy
  • my editors and beta readers for making me a better writer
  • bloggers and book reviewers who take the time to review and share my books with others...
I could keep going, but this is getting kind of long. And the really nice thing is that amidst all the struggles I encounter in this industry, seeing all these great people I have to be thankful for makes me really grateful that I decided to pursue this career.

Happy Thanksgiving!


*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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11. Writer Wednesday: Go-To Words

Today I want to talk about go-to words. You know, those words we ALWAYS use in our manuscripts even though we know we shouldn't. When I'm editing for a client, I cut these words, change them out, or mark them to be changed by the author. The thing is, I use these words in my own writing.

I'm working on edits for my Into the Fire trilogy and my editor kindly pointed out that my characters LOVE to smile and shrug. Not together, obviously, but you get the point. When I did a search for these, I was blown away. I'm talking head to desk, wondering how book one was ever printed this way. I was embarrassed to be honest. The good thing is that I know this book is so much better now. The writing is tighter, there are added scenes, and the pace is faster.

I'm going to share some words you should look for in your own writing and then cut. Here it goes:

shrug
nod
smile
that (This is the word I cut the most for my editing clients.)
just (This word is a close second to "that" as far as what I cut most for clients.)
almost
adverbs (Okay, it's not an exact word to look for, but you know what I'm talking about. Opt for specific verbs and ditch those adverbs.)
turn
So (I'm very guilty of this one. Cut it.)
really
very
but (Nothing wrong with this word, but—see what I did there?—be mindful of how often you use the "He did this, but…" sentence structure.)
too
only
well (Another personal favorite)


Here are three others, I'll caution you about:
feel
hear
see
These are telling words. If you're using them, you are distancing your reader from the story. Let the reader experience these senses instead of being told about them.

*While this list is in the present tense, ALL tenses apply. ;)

Do you have any go-to words that aren't on my list? Feel free to share them in the comments.

**If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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12. Writer Wednesday: Writers' Holiday Wish List

Confession. My brain is fried this week. I'm volunteering at my daughter's school with their holiday sale and editing for a client as well. Plus, yesterday was my birthday. So I struggled for a good topic today and decided to go for something fun. Here are the items I think would make great gifts for any writer:
  • Flash drives — We can always use more of these.
  • Notebooks — Yes, phones have notes and voice memos, but I prefer mini notebooks for my purse or even regular notebooks for brainstorming at my desk.
  • Journals — We are writers after all. ;)
  • Coupons for writing time — Remember those coupons you made for your mom when you were little and they said things like "do dishes" or "dust" and Mom could cash them in at any time? Yeah, well spouses out there, writers would love these coupons for free and uninterrupted writing time. They are totally free to give and yet worth so much to the writer.
  • Books or gift cards for books — All writers read. It's how we research the market. I love getting books or gift cards for books.
  • Gift cards to places where we can buy SWAG — Okay, I'm not even sure you can get these, but how cool would that be? SWAG adds up in price. I'd love a gift card to use toward book SWAG.
  • Buy the writers book — Yes, I mean buy the author's book and then review it on Amazon. That's a great gift. You're supporting the author and helping others in their choice to purchase the book.
  • Colored pens — I don't like writing with blue or black pens. It makes me think of paying bills. I write in purple and green most of the time.
  • Post-it flags and notes — These are so much fun and totally practical. I have flags all over my notebooks and books.
  • Sharpies — These are perfect for signing books.
  • Framed poster of their book cover — My husband had my first two book covers framed to hang in my office. I loved it.
  • Jewelry with the book cover — I love those necklaces that are mini books or even the book cover image behind a clear stone. So pretty and it's your book cover, so yeah. :)
  • Scrivener — I admit I have this and haven't fallen in love with it yet, but I know so many writers who swear by it.

What did I miss? Feel free to add other gifts writers would love in the comments.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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13. Writer Wednesday: Does SWAG Sway You to Read the Book?

I have three books releasing in spring 2016. Three! And while I'm talking about my Into the Fire trilogy, my release dates have changed. Here is the new release schedule:
INTO THE FIRE (book 1) February 16, 2016
OUT OF THE ASHES (book 2) March 22, 2016
UP IN FLAMES (book 3) April 12, 2016

I'm planning for the releases now. And that of course means thinking of SWAG ideas. But it makes me wonder: What do readers love to get as SWAG? What SWAG really grabs your attention and makes you interested in the book? Or is SWAG just fun to win and it doesn't really make you want to read the book?

SWAG can be so different depending on the book. I've given away necklaces, bracelets, pins, bookmarks, trading cards, charms, stickers, folders, pencils... Personally, I like SWAG that people can actually use. But does actually sway you to read the book? I think just like with everything else related to reading, it's subjective. A pretty piece of SWAG or a really different piece of SWAG might get your attention and make you curious about a book. Or you just might really like the SWAG. ;)

So why do authors put time and money into SWAG if it might not lead to readers? Like anything else, it's a way to potentially reach more readers, who may turn into fans. For that reason, I'll ask you, what is your favorite type of SWAG? What kind of SWAG makes you want to win the SWAG and maybe even read the book?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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14. Writer Wednesday: Reflecting on 2015

At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what I've accomplished. I do set goals at the start of each year, but unexpected things happen. So here's my year in review:

The really funny part is that I didn't think I did a lot this year, but when I write it all out I feel a little exhausted. ;) Seven books published? Really? I guess the year was better than I thought. 

What did 2015 look like for you?

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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15. Writer Wednesday: Dos and Don'ts of Submitting to Editors

Now that Seek's open submissions period is over, I wanted to share some things I saw on the other side of the submissions desk. I hope you find this helpful.

First, let's start with the negative—things I saw that I wish I hadn't. These are things I beg you not to do when querying. 
  • Queries that didn't follow submission guidelines  I get that every publisher (and agent) tends to have specific submission guidelines and it can be overwhelming for authors, but please take the time to follow them. If you don't, it shows us you don't value our time or our preferences. That's no way to start a relationship with someone.
  • Queries that aren't at all what I'm looking for  I received queries for young adult books and early readers, yet my submission guidelines specifically say I'm looking for middle grade books. Querying with a book that isn't what an editor is looking for is wasting everyone's time, including your own. Besides, who wants an unnecessary rejection?
  • Misspelling the editor's name.  I understand Kelly is both a girl's name and a boy's name; however, a simple Google search brings up only one Kelly Hashway—me. And I have my picture all over the place. I'm not Mr. Hashway. I also got a lot of "Dear Ms. Hathaway" queries. I'm not related to Anne Hathaway or any other Hathaways. If you can't take the time to proofread to ensure you're spelling an editor's name correctly, you're telling me you don't care. That doesn't make me care much in return. :(
  • Replies asking if the author can revise and resubmit  If an editor loves your writing and concept but thinks the book needs work, he/she will tell you to revise and resubmit. Please don't email me and ask if you can—or worse, just assume you can. If I took the time to give you helpful feedback, use it to move forward and get ready for your next submission.
  • Forget to include a query  I kid you not. I received more than one query that didn't have a query letter. They were simply "here's my attached manuscript" messages. I didn't even know what the books were called. If you can't care enough to describe your book to me or even tell me the title, I'm not going to be the least bit excited to read your pages.
Okay, enough negativity. Let's move on to the positives—things I saw and loved. These are the things you should do when querying:
  • Be professional  I had several people who know me from this blog or other social media sites query me and they still addressed me as Ms. Hashway or Mrs. Hashway instead of Kelly. Kudos to you, because even though I was thinking, "Oh yay, INSERT NAME HERE is querying me" I still handle all query letters equally. Yes, I had to pass on queries from people I know, and yes it made me sad. But this is a business and we have to remember that.
  • Appreciate any feedback you get, because it's rare  I got the nicest response from a pass. I didn't know this person at all, but they responded to my pass to thank me for getting back to them in such a timely manner and for offering helpful feedback. I'm not going to lie. I got a few others like this one and they kept me going when my inbox was spilling over. This showed me these people get it. They get how busy editors are and appreciate that an editor took the time to offer feedback when it's not mandatory. These are people I'll remember if they cross my inbox again.
Okay, there are other things you should do, but I think you can figure them out from my list of things you shouldn't do. Do you have any query tips to add to my list? Feel free to share in the comments.

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16. Writer Wednesday: Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

Summer is always tough for me. My daughter is home, which means being Mom takes up most of my days. My new job as an acquisitions editor added more work to my already full plate. On top of that, I'm booked solid with my own editing clients for the rest of 2015. So yeah, I haven't been writing as much. But things are going to change soon.

School begins on Monday, and that means I'll be working full days again. My plan is to devote mornings to me and afternoons to Seek. Splitting my day up will allow me time to edit for my clients and write for me, while still handling my duties for Leap Books. Or at least that's the plan. ;)

I'm going to miss my daughter though. She's my buddy. There's nothing I love more than being with her, but I know she is excited to start a new school year (Third grade already? How did she get so big?) and see all of her friends again. So here's to a great start to the school year and life getting back to a routine.

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17. Writer Wednesday: How to Land in an Editor's "No Way!" Pile

Today's topic came from Sherry Alexander, who wanted to know what lands and author in an editor's "No Way!" pile. These are things that I've seen that got the author's automatic rejections or caused me to delete their submission without reading it.

Beginning your query with "I know you're not open to unagented submissions, but I'm hoping you'll make an exception for me."
This one really gets me, and here's why. You are making it clear that you believe you're somehow better than all the other authors who want to query me. Grr. Don't ever disrespect another author in front of me. Just don't do it. I hate to see any author putting another author down. And if you think you deserve an exception to the rule but others don't, that's exactly what you're doing. Automatic delete without even reading the query.

Claiming you met me at a conference and that I welcomed you to submit your book.
This was a bad year for me, in that I didn't get to attend any conferences. However, I've gotten queries from people claiming they met me at conferences. Now maybe it's a simple case of mistaken identity. Maybe the editor you met has a similar name. (There are no other Kelly Hashways. I've checked.) But, I'm kind of thinking this person decided to gamble and assume I was at a big SCBWI conference and was busy meeting so many authors I wouldn't remember them all by name. Don't start a relationship off on a lie. Just don't. I don't like liars. Automatic delete without even reading the query.

Forgetting to tell me about your book in your query.
This is your big chance to wow me. You get one page to grab my attention. Why on earth wouldn't you tell me about your book? Editors are very busy. I won't tell you how many books are sitting on my Kindle waiting for me to read them. I'm embarrassed by it. But we are so busy! Your query is what tells me if I'm interested enough in your story to read some of it. Form letter rejection.

Saying your book is better than "Insert Best-seller Title Here"
Again, do NOT put down another author in front of me. I don't care if you're the best writer in the world. Don't do it! Form letter rejection.

I'm sure I'll come across other things the longer I edit, but please for the love of books do not do any of these things when you query. Editors WANT to find books they love in their query inboxes. We do. We want to love you and your book, but our time is very limited. Don't get yourself rejected before we even get to chapter one.

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18. Writer Wednesday: The Dreaded Synopsis

Today's topic came courtesy of Sherry Alexander again. Thank you, Sherry, for offering such great topic suggestions. Sherry wanted to know what an editor wants in a synopsis.

During Seek's open submissions last month, I requested the query, first three chapters, and a synopsis. Now, I'm going to be honest. I only read a few synopses. I know, you're probably thinking, "Then why did you ask for one if you weren't going to read it? Don't you know writers HATE having to write a synopsis?" Yes, yes I do. But here's the thing. Editors go through submissions rather quickly. I read the query and if the query interests me, I go directly to the opening pages. If you keep my interest, I turn to the synopsis to see how the rest of the story plays out.

So what am I looking for when I read your synopsis? Two things. First, I get that a synopsis is not the most fun thing to write, but keep in mind that you want to keep the editor's attention. So make sure the voice of your story comes through in the synopsis. A trick is to let your MC write the synopsis and then convert it to third person. (This is a great trick for writing your query letter blurb, too!) Also, pretend you are telling a friend about this great book you just read (or movie you just saw), only get spoilery. You have to include the ending in a synopsis, so don't forget to do that. One of the reasons why I look to a synopsis is to see how the story will carry from the conflict to some sort of resolution. If there isn't a resolution in your synopsis, I'll assume you haven't resolved the conflict in the book either. You don't want me to assume that.

Synopses don't have to be horrific things that writers should fear. Have fun with them and make them be another way you can get an editor interested in that amazing story you just had to tell.


*If you have a topic you'd like me to cover in a Writer Wednesday post, feel free to leave it in the comments.*

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19. Writer Wednesday: Do Editors Google Authors?


Today's topic comes courtesy of Miss Leandra Wallace. Leandra wants to know if editors check out an author's site if they are interested in their work.

Why, yes. Yes, we do. :) If I really love a submission, I definitely get curious about the author. So I look them up. What am I looking for? Well, I want to see that you are active on social media. That could mean a lot of things though. Some authors like to have websites that include any books published, a bio, and little more. Some are all over social media: Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Instagram, you name it. Others just blog and leave it at that. Basically what I'm looking for is that you are willing to interact with readers and you have a place for readers to find you and contact you.

So don't feel you need to join every social media site out there. Actually, don't. I'd rather see a writer join a few and be interactive than be on a ton of sites and never post. So choose what works for you and do that well.

Now if I can't find an author, this would prompt me to ask him/her about his/her online presence. It doesn't mean a definite pass on a manuscript, but I'd need to know that the author is willing to build an online platform—and well before the book's potential release date.

*If you have a topic you'd like me to cover in a Writer Wednesday post, feel free to leave it in the comments.*

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20. Writer Wednesday: How Long Does It Take Editors to Decide to Acquire a Book?


Today's topic comes courtesy of Johnell DeWitt. Johnell wants to know how long it takes an editor to make a decision after they've requested and read a manuscript.

For me, it's immediate. I have to love a book to take it on. I stop reading a submission when I realize I'm not in love with it. That means if I make it to the end, I loved it. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to send off an offer right away though. At this point I know I want the book, but the next question is how does the book fit into the current line for Seek? The book has to be a good fit for the company. If it is, then I'm ready to offer. If it's not...

Two things could happen at this point. I could regretfully pass on a great book because it's too similar to another title or doesn't fit the line for another reason (like maybe the word count is a lot higher than Seek's other titles). Or, I might email the author to see if they are willing to make changes to have the book fit our line better. Now, the author might not want to make the changes (which is totally fine), and at that point, I wish him/her luck in finding a home for the book. If the author is willing to make the changes, I'm ready to offer a contract.

So, that's what it looks like on the other side of my submissions desk after I read a manuscript. I'm sure other editors might have a different process, but hopefully you find it helpful to hear about mine.

*If you have a topic you'd like me to cover in a Writer Wednesday post, feel free to leave it in the comments.*

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21. Writer Wednesday: Should You Say Thank You?

Today's topic comes courtesy of Rick Starkey. Rick wants to know if it's too much clutter for an editor's inbox if an author sends a thank-you after receiving a rejection, especially if it's a personalized rejection.

Now, keep in mind that I can't speak for all editors, but for me, getting thank-you emails from authors kept me going during Seek's open submissions period. I received some that simply said, "thank you for getting back to me so soon," since my typical response time was 24 hours or under. (Yes, I'm insane like that.) These emails mentioned how it was nice to get such a speedy response, even if it wasn't a favorable response. My reaction was that these authors understood how busy an editor is and appreciated that I worked so quickly to get back to them. So, I definitely liked getting these emails.

The other kind of response I got was on personalized rejections. Again, these authors were appreciative of the feedback I offered on their submissions, and a few even mentioned how rare it is to get the feedback. Showing you understand that an editor doesn't have to provide feedback but took the time to do so gets you a big gold star in my book. I really enjoyed reading these emails.

So, it's all good, right? Well, not exactly. Here's the exception. I received a few responses that began as thank-you emails and morphed into "since you were kind enough to offer feedback on this book, I have another I think you'll love" and "can I assume you'd be open to me revising based on your feedback and resubmitting?" 

Let's start with the first one. Now, it was an open submissions period, which means anyone could submit any book to me. There was no need to ask. So this email actually came across as "you see potential in me so I'm letting you know I'm sending you something else that you'll hopefully move up in your slush pile because you like me." Now, maybe that's not what the author intended, but it does come off this way to an editor, so be careful about sounding like you think you deserve special treatment. The second response is also a no-no. If an editor wants you to revise and resubmit, he or she will tell you that. Otherwise, consider it feedback to help you get the manuscript ready to send out to other editors.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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22. Writer Wednesday: Time For Another Confession

It's been a while since I've made a confession, so here it is. As much as I love writing, this industry makes me sad. I see authors I love go from being on bestseller lists to not selling well. The question I ask is why? Where are the readers? And when I go into a store and have to spend at least $5 on a greeting card, I can't help but think, "I'd rather buy a book." Most ebooks are so much cheaper than greeting cards, yet ebooks aren't selling like I'd hoped they would.

The bottom line is that it's really tough to be an author today. You have to love what you do and let that carry you through each day. I often remind myself that I choose to write for me and not to trends. I have a loyal fan base and I love them. Will I ever achieve my big dreams as a writer? Maybe. Maybe not. But it's not why I write. I write because it's who I am. I've been a writer since I could hold a pencil. So that's what I'll continue to do. Even on the days when I feel like crying. Even on the days when I question if anyone will ever read the book I'm pouring hours, days, and months into. And I'll continue to hope that the readers come and that they treasure the written word as much as I do.

*Remember: If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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23. Writer Wednesday: Authors Are Crazy


At YA Fest last weekend, I met a reader who made a very interesting comment about writers. My table mate and I were talking about how we always get nervous we'll mess up someone's name when signing a book to them. (I always confirm spellings, no matter how common the name, for this reason.) This reader laughed and said that before she attended any author signings she thought authors were these people who were nearly perfect and regular people couldn't talk to. 

Then she laughed and said, "But you guys are all crazy. You have to be with everything you go through to get a book published." I laughed too, because she's right. We are in a tough field. One that means constant rejection at every stage. In a way, we are crazy for putting ourselves through it. 

I loved that this reader understood how tough it really is. She admitted that she's become friends with several authors so she hears about the process and knows the level of difficulty. I really wish more readers did.

So here's to us, the crazy writers who keep going despite all the rejection. And here's to the readers who truly get us.

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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24. Writer Wednesday: Authors Are Human

Something that always amazes me when I go to an event, whether it be a conference, a convention, or just a one-author book signing, is that people look at authors like they aren't regular people. Some might argue we aren't exactly normal (and I'm okay with that), but we are in fact human just like everyone else.

I've seen teens gush about meeting authors, and I've gushed about meeting authors, too. But when I gush it's because I'm in the presence of someone who's book changed my life in some way. Not because I thought this author was actually a superhuman posing as a mere mortal.

Now, those of you who follow me on Facebook or who read my most recent Monday Mishmash post know I had quite the accident-prone week. I had to laugh because my mom told me I had to stop posting about my accidents online or people might think I'm not the most intelligent person. There's a reason I post these things for all to see. These little quirks about me show I'm human. I'm not a robot sitting behind a computer screen typing away my latest book. I'm a real human being who tends to hurt herself and embarrass herself quite often. But I have a good sense of humor and I can laugh at myself. And I graduated college with honors, so I'm not worried about my intelligence either. ;)

I'm just me. I want people to see the real me and know they can approach me. That's why I love interacting online. So will I continue to share my little quirks online? Yes, I will. How about you? Do you share your imperfections online for others to see?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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25. Writer Wednesday: Pointing Out Errors

Today's topic comes from Rick Starkey. Rick asked:
"I sometimes read books of others and leave reviews. I know that errors can slip through the publishing process, but should these be mentioned to the author? Is it fixable in the ebook version? Can it be fixed before the print version is printed? Or is it something the author probably already knows about and has to accept?"

This is a tricky subject, and here's why. A lot of authors, including me, refuse to read the finished book once it's out in the world. The reason is we are afraid of finding things we'll want to change. There comes a point where you have to accept the book is finished. Personally, I don't want to read my book and find a missing comma or typo. I'd cry because I know how much editing goes into all my books. But…editors are humans too. We do occasionally make mistakes. It's been proven that the human brain can read misspelled words and even insert missing words into sentences. Things happen. Even after you have an entire team of editors reading your book.

So, do you as a reader point out an error to the author? Well, if he/she is traditionally published, the print and ebook probably released simultaneously, which means that the first print run is already done. Those books cannot be changed. Things can be updated before the second print run, though. But ask yourself how you'd feel as the author if you knew thousands of copies of your book were in the hands of readers and that those copies contained an error. It's not a good feeling.

However… Did you know that was coming? If the author is self-published and/or using print on demand, these fixes are much easier. Files can be updated and there aren't thousands of print copies all over with mistakes in them. So telling an author in this situation could be very helpful to the author and publisher (if there is one).

But PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, if you do find errors and feel the need to tell the author, do two things. First, make sure you are correct. Are you 110% certain it's an error? Second, contact the author PRIVATELY. Let me say that again. Contact the author PRIVATELY. Do not tell them in a review on Amazon or on their FB wall.

So, Rick, I hope that answers your question.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

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